Obituary: Howard Stidham, Chemistry Professor for 61 Years

Howard D. Stidham
Howard D. Stidham

Howard D. Stidham, 92, of Belchertown, a 61-year professor of chemistry, died Nov. 13.

Born Sept. 14, 1925 in Memphis, Tennessee, he graduated from Manchester High School in Connecticut and served in the Army from 1943-45 during WWII, attaining the rank of Tec 5 in the 86th Infantry Division. After the war, he reenlisted and worked as a chaplain’s assistant from 1945-47 in the Philippines.

He received his B.S. from Trinity College in 1950 and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955. Following a year as chief spectroscopist at Dewey and Almy Chemical Co. in Cambridge, he joined UMass Amherst in 1956 as assistant professor of physical chemistry and Raman spectroscopy in the department of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 1971 and full professor in 1990. He retired Aug. 31 after 61 years of service.

In his earlier years, he was an avid rock climber and also enjoyed many years of flying as a pilot.

During the past year, he wrote and published “Statistical Thermodynamics for Beginners,” which is the distillation of his teaching statistical mechanics to juniors, seniors and graduate students for more than 50 years.

He is survived by his wife, Andrea M. Femino, and her daughter, Charissa Brown of Belchertown.

Donations may be made in his memory to St. Labre Indian School, Ashland, Montana 59004 ( or Shriners Hospital for Children, 516 Carew St., Springfield 01104 (